NFL wide receivers that should have been league MVP: 3. Jerry Rice, 1987
Speaking of efficiency, Jerry Rice’s numbers might not look eye popping at first in 1987. He only had 65 catches that year and he got just over 1,000 yards, but the reason he’s so high on the list is his 22 touchdowns. He was always near the end zone, and he was scoring at a serious clip, a record-setting clip even.
What makes it even better is ice was able to set this record in just 12 games. That earned him the Newspaper Enterprise Association’s MVP Award. That one was voted on by his fellow players. He also won the Pro Writer’s Associations MVP Award. He won the Bert Bell Award from the Maxwell Football Club as the player of the year. And guess who was named MVP? John freaking Elway.
How can a guy win so many awards across the league, but when it comes to the most important award the traditional voters still do the traditional things and never break the mold? Rice was the best player in the league that season. There was no doubt about his impact on the 49ers. When he was on the field, he was deadly. He was like a receiver assassin. He was scoring, and nobody was able to stop him.
It’s just the way the cookie crumbles, and that’s why this list exists. Receivers deserve more love for the impact on the game they are having. This is proof. Rice was the best player in the league and he had the most value to his team.